Note From Norm: Welcome Back Mitt Romney
In an era in which America’s politics and politicians are as polarized as ever it was welcome news to me this past February when Mitt Romney announced he would run for the United States Senate.
I’m presuming he will win this seat.
In doing so he will replace Orrin Hatch who has served in the Senate since 1977 – making him the longest serving Republican United States Senator in history.
Hatch has served with distinction throughout his career. He has been willing to reach across the aisle when he believed there was a deal to be had to move the country forward. He is a staunch conservative who has represented a conservative state with tenacity and honor and his positive and powerful contributions to America will be felt for generations.
In a time when relationships between Americans are strained at the mere mention of the word “politics” Conservatives like Orrin Hatch, along with Liberals like Ted Kennedy, showed us for decades how people with decidedly different views of the world could find a singular view on the importance of working together to strengthen America.
Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney are not the same person, but they have some of the same qualities that have earned them the respect of people they have worked for, worked with and served.
There is no question they are both conservative and capable of getting things done.
They find common ground with those they disagree with politically and ideologically to get things done for their state and their country.
While filling Hatch’s shoes will be a challenge I can think of no better person to do so than Mitt Romney.
As I posted on Twitter soon after Romney’s announcement “I’m thrilled by Mitt Romney’s re-entry into the political fray in the age of #MeToo, in a time of politics as a death sport, Mitt Romney is perhaps the most profoundly decent and honorable man I have ever supported…Proud to once again stand and with @TeamRomney.”
The United States Senate needs Mitt Romney.
The United States needs Mitt Romney.
There is no question in my mind that had Mitt Romney triumphed over Barack Obama and been elected President of the United States, America would be much less polarized today. The identity politics that was at the core of the Obama base- the 99 % versus the 1%; black versus white; gay versus straight; male versus female- would have been greatly muted.
I believe his skills, demeanor and workmanlike approach to public life would have resulted in an America in which one could hold deeply held political beliefs, ideology and philosophy and do so without tearing apart the country.
Mitt Romney isn’t coming to the United States Senate to be President.
He’s coming to the United States Senate to join with other like-minded Republicans and Democrats to return comity and civility to an institution that desperately needs it for the future of our country.
The departure of Harry Reid from the United States Senate was a positive first-step in restoring some capability of the body to work together once again.
Evidence of that ability to do so was demonstrated not so long ago in the agreement between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer on a two-year budget deal.
Further evidence was the huge bipartisan support for passage of the bill with a 71-28 vote.
One vote, however, does not a trend indicate.
Clearly much damage was done to the institution under Harry Reid, and across the street with Nancy Pelosi, but there is hope that it can be repaired.
On both sides of the aisle there are men and women of good faith who want to work together to get things done.
At the risk of leaving anyone out of what I consider to be a lengthy list of Democrats and Republicans I want to focus on two of them: Lindsay Graham and Amy Klobuchar.
Graham, a Republican, and Klobuchar, a Democrat, are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum.
Graham is a committed conservative while Klobuchar will match his committed conservatism with her own unyielding liberalism.
Both have stood strong on their convictions and beliefs and have represented their beliefs, ideals and constituents with honor and integrity.
And, yet, when it has come time to find consensus, and common-ground, on some of the most challenging, complex and difficult issues of the day you will always find both at the center of trying to bring people together to get things done.
They don’t always succeed. But, they always act in good faith and with a commitment to doing the hard work to get the important work done.
Mitt Romney will add to the “Caucus of Getting Things Done.”
He will bring the same strong personal convictions and beliefs to the United States Senate as Graham and Klobuchar and many others.
Romney isn’t coming to the United States Senate to save it.
He’s coming to the United States Senate to work with others, Democrats and Republicans, to make a great America even better.
Welcome back, Mitt, we’ve missed you!